1st Jewish-catholic Confab in Germany

The International Liaison Committee between the Roman Catholic Church and Judaism held its eighth annual meeting in this Bavarian city last week, the first ever held in Germany. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt took note of that historic fact in a message of greetings telegraphed to Auxiliary Bishop Karl Flugel in which he stated:

“What Jews had to suffer in the painful years of the National Socialist dictatorship is a burden which also concerns your deliberations in Regensburg. It is for this reason that I wish to express to you my gratitude that your encounter is taking place in the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The message added: “As you are meeting for the first time in a German city we are reminded not only how serious are the consequences of estrangement and lack of understanding between religious communities, but also how important it is to seek a dialogue against the background of a burdensome common experience.”

The Liaison Committee, which comprises representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), met here from Oct. 22-25 with working sessions at Heuport House, the headquarters of the Diocese of Regensburg. Committee members visited the former concentration camp of Flossenburg where prayers were said for the Jewish and Christian victims who died there. During the service, Flugel laid a wreath in their memory.

WIDE RANGE OF TOPICS DISCUSSED

Topics discussed at the sessions included “Religious Freedom,” “Education for Dialogue in a Pluralistic Society,” and current trends in anti-Semitism. Papers presented by Catholic scholars on the issue of Catholic-Jewish dialogue dealt with the need to develop new teaching methods and curricula at all levels of education.

The co-chairmen of the meeting were Prof. Shemcryahu Talmon of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Msgr. Charles Moeller, vice president of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. Participants included representatives from the World Jewish Congress, Synagogue Council of America, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, the Israel Jewish Council for Interreligious Development, and Catholics from the United States, Israel, Italy and Germany.

Juan Rosengold, president of the Jewish community of Regensburg, lead the Jewish community in giving a reception to the conference participants at the Jewish community center.

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